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An introspective yet expansive alt-pop gem, the brand new single Her from Aotearoa New Zealand artist Isla Noon is a driving new outing, also fittingly accompanied today by an intimate and energetic music video.

Opening with wavering synths and the ethereal vocal stylings of Isla Noon, Her buoyantly builds into an empowered and vibrant ode to Noon’s younger self. Nodding to the passionate creations of Sam Fender, the intimate yet atmospheric wiles of Holly Humberstone, and the dreamy hues of American indie pop group MUNA, Her is ultimately a candid and assured triumph, complete with goosebump-inducing melodics and glimmering textures. “I wrote Her alone, at home with my guitar,” reveals Isla Noon. “Her is about my younger self. Life often ends up taking you down a whole lot of roads you could not have anticipated when you were young. I didn’t want to lose my child self in adulthood, because I still have a lot of the same dreams I’ve had since I was a little kid. In a way, I felt like I owed that little kid, like she was counting on me. Writing this song allowed me to open a dialogue with my younger self and let her know; ‘You can trust me to take over now. It won’t be perfect, and some of the things you thought you wanted will change, but you’ll be happy’. It’s me at my most candid and conversational.”

Producing Her alongside long-time collaborator Maude Minnie Morris as well as Chris van de Geer on co-producing and mixing duties, Isla Noon’s experience recording the demo vocals for her latest single proved as memorable as the end result, as she explains, “I wrote the song at home and then brought it into the studio to record with Maude. I was sitting on the couch behind Maude, recording in the demo vocal, and I remember her turning her chair around when the song ended and looking at me like she was about to cry. It only really struck me then that anyone else would understand what I was feeling or connect with the song, it just felt so incredibly personal when I wrote it.”

Also armed with a brand new music video, the kinetic Her rises to new and connective levels, with Her’s accompanying visual concepts organically emerging the very same day Isla Noon penned the sublime track. “I wrote the music video concept the same day that I wrote the song,” she reveals. “I had this mental image of a fake car in a studio environment, driven by people in my life with me as a constant passenger, and ending with me leaving the set and driving my real car. The fake car in the video is a nod to the driving metaphor throughout the song, but also a metaphor for my life and the way in which I felt I was being driven by a younger self that had high hopes for me. I met with Oshara Ardelean, who also directed the video for Body, and I remember thinking: ‘Oshara is going to think I’m nuts for wanting to construct a life-size model of a car out of cardboard’. But thankfully, she was totally on board. It was a really personal shoot. Full of laughter and also a few emotional moments. The video features a young Isla Noon, played by the absolutely joyous Scarlett Ewen. It also features my best friends Georgia Mismash as the ‘cool 25 year old’, Maude Minnie Morris and Swap Gomez who are also my live band.”

Growing up listening to the likes of Boney M as a toddler before devouring everything from Leonard Cohen through to Caroline Polachek, Wolf Alice and Lorde later in life, Isla Noon’s core musical memories drive vehemently through her powerful pop stylings, merging into creations that are intelligent and intimate in equal measure. Writing music from an early age and first picking up the guitar when she was 10 years old, Isla Noon’s academic pursuits soon merged with her creative passions before she ultimately transformed into the formidable artist as we know her, in the most relatable way possible: by breaking her own walls and notions of perfectionism down and confronting any aversions to vulnerability, ultimately emerging as the authentic and potent performer and songwriter she is today.

From her work being described by Rolling Stone as “glistening, dance-pop perfection” through to a string of local and international successes already under her belt, Isla Noon’s gaze now sits fixed on the near future, with a ground-breaking debut album on the way already paved by the resonating beauty of her new single. “This song allowed me to put into words something that was weighing on me at the time, and now feels like a marker of my growth since writing it,” Isla Noon concludes. “I’m no longer experiencing the weight of those feelings, in fact I’m in a very peaceful place with it now, but it’s only really through writing the song that I moved through and past that block. It felt like a gift to myself to write, and releasing it feels like passing that gift on to anyone who may have ever felt that they were falling behind in some way, or struggling to reconcile expectations that their younger self may have had about where they ‘should’ be in life.”

Her is out today, Friday May 10.

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Album InterviewsInterviews

Interview with Isla Noon (Q & A)

Lush, hypnotic and brimming with alt pop whimsy, the brand new single Body from Aotearoa New Zealand artist Isla Noon is an electrifying ode to growing up from one of the scene’s most exciting up-and-comers. A dynamic addition to Isla Noon’s ever-growing repertoire, Body is also accompanied by an enigmatic music video featuring the artist herself in a potent display against a fittingly eerie locale.

(STM) First up, can you please give us a quick intro?
I’m Isla Noon, an alt-pop artist from Auckland, New Zealand. I recently released my latest single ‘Body’.

Tell us about your new single ‘Body’?
Body started as a way for me to excavate a lot of negative thoughts and associations and get clear on the kind of relationship I’d like to have with myself. I’m particularly proud of the dynamics in this one, going from these melty verses to hit-you-in-the-face choruses when the emotion of the song takes over. It’s a very special one to me and I’m super proud to share it.

What’s the creative process like for you?
It’s changing a lot at the moment! I’m in a real period of exploration and growth with my own creative process. Body was an interesting one because the writing process was like nothing I’d written before. I started the lyric idea as more of a stream of consciousness in my notes app, something I didn’t think I would ever put to music. Soon a few of the lines I’d written in that note started making their way over a chord progression I had been playing around with for ages, and it all sort of came together quite organically from there.

If you could change something about the music industry what would you change?
If I could change anything about the industry, it would be more viable income streams. Over the last few decades the industry has changed so much, and the sale of music doesn’t bring in what it used to. I’d love to see my artist friends be fairly compensated for the immense work and heart that goes into their music and creative projects.

What do you think life would be like for you if you didn’t have music/visual art as an outlet?
I think I would still be a writer, just not the musical kind. I’ve always loved writing but it’s more than just a creative outlet, it’s how I process life! I’m not sure I could get by without something that could act as that lens.

Is there anyone you would like to collaborate with?
So many people! I look up to so many artists and it would be a dream to collaborate with any one of them. At the moment I’m actually looking at a lot of visual artists and designers as I prepare for my next release, and I’m really excited by the prospect of that collaboration. I’ve always put my own imagery together so I’d love to experience working with someone else on that.

What’s your advice to young people who want to make a career for themselves in the industry ?
I think having multiple ways of engaging with the industry or multiple skillsets is a great advantage to making creative work sustainable. Whether you are an artist who can also produce for others, or you’re a great keys player who can double as a session player. Sometimes having those other skills in your kit or doing work with someone else can lead you to an opportunity for your own music. It’s just about getting in there in some capacity, meeting people and showing you’re good to work with.

What’s your favourite song to perform?
Hands down my most recent single Body. There’s just nothing like that chorus coming out of large speakers! I also love performing a song called Talk About Us, which I released in 2021. I have such a soft spot for that song and it has some really fun melodies to sing.

Got any secret hobbies that we might be surprised by?
Not sure it’s a total surprise but I love clothing and fashion. I also love challenging myself to put looks together with second hand and/or vintage pieces for my videos and performances. I think a love of fashion doesn’t have to exist in a space where you’re constantly acquiring new, and I find it more interesting to source unique pieces and customise them. I also do a liiiittle bit of film photography – as featured in the cover art for two of my singles ‘Summer in August’ and ‘I Need To Go Home’.

Listen: BODY

Watch: BODY

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